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Wait, is Walmart going to buy TikTok with Microsoft?

Walmart expresses interest in buying TikTok

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This Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020 photo shows the icon for TikTok taken in New York. From the perspective of teens flooding onto TikTok, the Chinese-owned online video app is a major new outlet for self-expression, one proudly home to the silly, the loud and the weird. To others, though, the service is an unnerving black box that could be sharing information with the Chinese government, facilitating espionage, or just promoting videos and songs some parents consider lewd. (AP Photo)

This Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020 photo shows the icon for TikTok taken in New York.

Associated Press

Walmart has emerged as a new contender to buy TikTok from its parent company, ByteDance, with the help of Microsoft.

What’s happening:

Walmart sent a statement to CNBC:

The way TikTok has integrated e-commerce and advertising capabilities in other markets is a clear benefit to creators and users in those markets. We believe a potential relationship with TikTok U.S. in partnership with Microsoft could add this key functionality and provide Walmart with an important way for us to reach and serve omnichannel customers as well as grow our third-party marketplace and advertising businesses. We are confident that a Walmart and Microsoft partnership would meet both the expectations of U.S. TikTok users while satisfying the concerns of US government regulators.

  • Walmart had been working with SoftBank to make a bid for TikTok. However, the deal was “seen as unlikely because there isn’t a technology backbone partner for the deal,” according to CNBC.
  • Microsoft would be that tech partner.

TikTok is nearing an agreement to sell the U.S., Canadian, Australian and New Zealand operations, sources told CNBC.

  • The deal would likely be worth $20 to $30 billion.
  • It’s been unclear who will buy the social media app. Microsoft and Oracle have been the frontrunners over the last few weeks. But it appears Walmart has entered the race.

TikTok changes are coming

Kevin Mayer has resigned as TikTok’s CEO on Wednesday night after only a few months in the role, as I wrote for Deseret.com. His concerns over TikTok’s political strife — which includes President Donald Trump’s call to ban the app, which led to the potential Microsoft deal — led to the resignation.

In recent weeks, as the political environment has sharply changed, I have done significant reflection on what the corporate structural changes will require, and what it means for the global role I signed up for. Against this backdrop, and as we expect to reach a resolution very soon, it is with a heavy heart that I wanted to let you all know that I have decided to leave the company.